According to a report in today's New Jersey Star-Ledger, Blakely spent the morning at Monmouth University at a conference titled "Rebuilding A Resilient New Jersey Shore." Blakely's topic? "Lessons from Katrina."
Blakely — the Hurricane Katrina "recovery czar" who had been appointed under former Mayor Ray Nagin — made big waves last week when his new employer, the University of Sydney in Australia, issued a press release saying Blakely had been appointed to the Respond Commission. Blakely gave an interview on the subject to an Australian radio station, confirming the appointment.
The Respond Commission is one of three announced by the state of New York to analyze the response to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Penuel, its co-chair, is also director of the Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response at New York University,
An official press release released an hour ago from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced the commission's makeup and made no mention of Blakely, although it noted "Additional appointments may be made to the commissions."
Penuel, though, made it clear that Blakely would not be one of them.
Press release under the jump.
In his commentary this week for WWL-TV, Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos had a message for N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and it had to do with former New Orleans "recovery czar" Ed Blakely:
Hurricane Katrina "recovery czar" Ed Blakely has been appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to a commission to "examine the state's emergency response capabilities" in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to an interview Blakely has done with an Australian radio station.
In recent years, Blakely has been living in Australia, where he is Honorary Professor of Urban Policy at the US Studies Centre of the University of Sydney.
"My role in this is to make sure they're ready for what's likely to be another one soon," Blakely told the Australian radio station, adding that "A number of people have asked me if I would be around to discuss these things as they're moving forward."
The original announcement of the commission made no mention of Blakely.
Blakely has already weighed in on what New York needs to do in the wake of Sandy. That's under the jump, along with a link to the Library Chronicles' classic Blakely timeline, "Come Crane With Me":
Former New Orleans disaster master Dr. Ed Blakely is on the scene of the devastating floods in Queensland, offering his expertise to the unfortunate Australians. In this video interview taped at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Blakely offers proscriptions and prescriptions that sound awfully familiar...
There's a regional ecology that's been affected, but a regional ecology has no respect for political boundaries.
New Orleans was a total destruction — but this is a cleanup operation.
We have to decide how we're gonna build, where we're gonna build, and not hope for the best — but prepare for the future.
You just knew he couldn't keep his nose out of this...
Dr. Edward Blakely, former Executive Directory for Recovery Management for New Orleans, lectured on urban disaster recovery strategies and crisis leadership to about 20 people in a discussion hosted by the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Blakely used examples from Hurricane Katrina to demonstrate how a society should recover from such disastrous occurrences, now including the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, if they want to be prepared for and alleviate future consequences.
Blakely first emphasized the importance of engineering. He said political figures often make promises of rebuilding without really understanding how the rebuilding process works.
We need to delay building in the present in order to obtain long-term goals for the future, he said. Recovery is very different from emergency assistance.
And if anyone knows about delaying building....
Blakely said the main goal should be to start with the future, not the past. He suggested that Haiti take its time coming up with a long-term plan, instead of just a quick fix that is likely to fail in the short term and cause future issues.
Why, Blakely, why? What did Haiti ever do to you? If you can't help those poor people, can't you just leave them alone?
There never seems to be a recession in Louisiana political hijinks, as 2009 proved many times over. This was a year of tectonic shifts in the local political paradigm, and the coming year promises to bring more big changes. Herewith, our annual list of the Top 10 Political Stories:
Mayor Ray Nagin is in Australia, where he's scheduled to speak at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University on the topic of 'sustainable globalisation.' He took time for a radio interview with ABC Australia's Mark Colvin on the state of New Orleans. A few highlights of what Hizzoner had to tell the Aussies about the city:
On economic development: There is a tremendous amount of growth, entrepreneurism moving to our city. New construction and engineering companies are opening up because of all the activity.
On Dr. Ed Blakely: Invaluable guy who came on the scene when we needed him the most. We had multiple plans in place; we were kind of floundering a little bit. He put clarity to that; helped us implement our initial implementation strategies, if you will, identified 17 key areas, and if you look at those areas today, for every $1 of public investment we get $88 of private investment. He has earned his money.
On crime and drugs: Well, you know, crime has always been a challenge for us in the city of New Orleans. It's a historic thing that dates back, you know, 20, 30 years ago. Unfortunately we do have a port that brings in a lot of drugs into our community. We know have post-Katrina stress disorders that are starting to manifest themselves in many, many ways, where our citizens are self-medicating. In certain sections of the city we do have violent crime but the overall violent crime rate in New Orleans is down substantially.
To read the transcript, go here ... or just listen to the show:
Today's unsigned T-P article about the (alleged) imminent departure of Dr. Ed "A Thousand Cranes" Blakely concludes with this bit of drollery:
Blakely's departure may be a topic of discussion today at the City Council's 2 p.m. recovery committee meeting in City Hall. Blakely, who heads all of the city's recovery-related efforts, seldom attends the meetings, however.
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